January 30, 1920 - October 28, 2019
Henrich Jr., Vincent C. (age 99) passed away peacefully with family at his side on October 28, 2019 at Artis Senior Living in Mason, OH. Vincent was preceded in death by an infant son David James, his parents, Vincent Sr. and Isabell Henrich and his sister Betty deWitt. He is survived by his wife of 66 years and love of his life, Valerie, his brother and sister, Gustav Henrich of The Villages, Florida, and Barbara Taylor of Nashville, Tennessee, his three children, Dr. Vincent Henrich III of Greensboro, NC, Gary (Linda) Henrich of Aurora, OH, and Jenny (David) Burns of Mason, OH. Also survived by grandchildren Melanie Henrich, Eric Burns, Evan Henrich, Andrew Burns, Larissa Henrich, Laura Burns, and Steven Henrich, and great granddaughter, Raina Henrich., and many nieces and nephews. A memorial service with military honors will be held on Tuesday, November 5 at Hodapp Funeral Home in West Chester at 1 pm, preceded by a visitation hour.
Born in Lebanon, PA at a time when neo-natal medicine was not yet common, his premature birth and subsequent jaundice meant that his young parents were unsure he would survive. But survive he did – the eldest of four. He attended school in Lebanon, and later, in the Philadelphia area. As a freshman in high school, he won the famous Penn Relay competition in the 220-yard dash but left high school shortly thereafter to pursue his aspiration to become a farmer. He graduated from a local farm school and began work. With the attack on Pearl Harbor and US entry into World War II, Henrich immediately enlisted in the Army-Air Force and was assigned to work as a reconnaissance photo technician in the South Pacific theater during the war.
On one assignment, he processed the photographs taken by the B-29 bomber crew over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the photographs of Hiroshima taken right after the bombing; thus he became the first person not directly associated with the atomic bomb program, the Manhattan Project, to witness the destructive power of a nuclear bomb. He continued to serve as a military reconnaissance and research technician. After a brief civilian period in the United States after the war, he re-enlisted as a technical sergeant (T/Sgt) and was assigned to the military command headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany during the allied occupation. There, he met his future wife, Valerie Elsa Kuhn, and they were married in 1953. They returned to the Washington, DC area and started a family there. The young family moved to Houston, Texas while T/Sgt. Henrich was stationed in Thule, Greenland, at the frontline during the Soviet-American Cold War era. Later, the family moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where Henrich worked on a then-secret project with an Air Force research team developing laser technology and with teams performing underground nuclear weapons tests until the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was enacted in 1962. He was recognized for his performance and reliability with several mission and good-conduct medals during his military career.
Following his retirement from the Air Force in 1964, the family moved to Vandalia, Ohio, where Mr. Henrich worked as a technical photographer until his retirement in the 1980’s. He continued to be active in his community as a volunteer at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, a member of the local Lion’s Club, school music association, and the Vandalia United Methodist Church. A man of simple pleasures, he spent his free time golfing and spending time with family, but he and his wife also traveled extensively in both the US and Europe. They moved to the Cincinnati area over 5 years ago to be closer to family. His smile and easy-going spirit will be missed by all.